We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day – Know your enemy

It is commonly said that the problem for the Tories is that they don’t know what they stand for. There is a certain element of truth in this: the Parliamentary party is an almost absurdly broad spectrum comprising at one extreme people who wouldn’t have looked out of place in one of Tony Blair’s cabinets, and on the other, traditional religious conservatives – with an awful lot of Thatcherites, One Nationers, old-fashioned ‘shire Tories’, ‘wets’ and libertarians in the middle. But the bigger problem, it seems to me, is that the Tories don’t really know what they stand against. This is a particular problem for the Tory party in particular, which since the early 20th century has had the main raison d’etre of keeping Labour out of power. In order to do this, it should go without saying, you have to know what Labour stand for, and provide a clearly discernible alternative. That is the Tory party’s main duty, but it is badly shirking it.

Some readers of this substack will raise their eyebrows at the idea that the Tory party’s existence is mainly justified on the basis of keeping Labour out, so let me explain. And let me make no bones about it: while I have plenty of time for Labour voters (I come after all from dyed-in-the-wool Labour-voting stock) and even some Labour politicians, I despise the Labour Party and more or less everything it stands for. I don’t think there is an institution in contemporary Britain which exerts a more baleful influence. And this is because it is imbued with – indeed, it is the very political manifestation of – what Dostoyevsky might have called the morality of the Grand Inquisitor: a morality that positions itself always against freedom and agency in the name of comfort and ignorance.

David McGrogan.

Read the whole thing. I heartily commend this article to you and suggest subscribing to David McGrogan’s substack.

Samizdata quote of the day – attempting to purge the Web of misinformation is a fool’s errand

However, in the real, non-ideal world of mediocre and shallow thinkers, cowards, selfish careerists, and the occasional scoundrel, political and scientific censorship never works out in the way envisaged by its public advocates. In the non-ideal world of imperfect knowledge and corruptible character, censorship is just as likely to frustrate the pursuit of truth as to facilitate it.

Nobody’s Wisdom or Knowledge is Infallible

Consider, first, the fact that nobody, not even the most educated or brilliant person, possesses perfect, infallible knowledge, whether on moral or scientific questions. Of course, some people may, as a matter of fact, be better informed or wiser than others on this or that issue. However, the notion that anyone could enjoy a form of knowledge or wisdom that is uniquely infallible or immune to challenge, is preposterous. Who but God alone could possibly redeem such a far-fetched claim, and on what basis?

The idea that there is a superior class of persons whose knowledge and insights automatically trump the knowledge and insights of others is inconsistent with ordinary experience, which confirms that people reputed to be highly knowledgeable and wise can make grave and even catastrophic errors. In addition, it is based on a deeply naïve and misguided view of the complex and messy process through which human knowledge is acquired.

David Thunder writing “Why attempting to purge the Web of misinformation is a fool’s errand”

… but frankly I think is a scoundrel’s errand.

Transport for London has named London’s overground lines…

Samizdata quote of the day – Truly… truly… the state is not your friend

‘Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.’

-Mayer Rothschild

If you asked the man or woman on the street whether they think we should have a ‘national conversation about the future of money’, they would probably say something like: ‘Yes, we need to talk about how we can have more of it.’

The Bank of England, however, has a different discussion in mind. It seems to be growing ever fonder of the idea that we should have this ‘national conversation’. But what it wants to talk about is not increasing wealth; it is ‘the future of payments’ (code for introducing a Central Bank Digital Currency or CBDC, the ‘digital pound’). The Bank of England, you see, lives on a rather different country to the rest of us – one in which the pressing economic problems we face are not to do with inflation, interest rates, quantitative easing, or overleveraging, but to do with how we pay for things. In the version of Britain which it inhabits, we have the national bandwidth to devote major resources to the designing of a ‘future payments ecosystem’ so that the UK can ‘remain at the forefront of payments technology’, and we also need to do this as a matter of urgency.

David McGrogan.

Read the whole thing.

Samizdata quote of the day – unfortunately the high-status fraudster won

A Washington, D.C. jury has found that conservative writers Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg defamed climate scientist Michael Mann.

The jury deliberated for close to a full day before reaching its decision.

At issue were two blog posts, one by Steyn and one by Simberg, comparing the investigation into alleged academic misconduct by Mann, then a Penn State professor, to Penn State’s handling of Jerry Sandusky, the school’s former head of athletics who raped and molested children.

“If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won’t it cover up?” Steyn wrote in his post, which quoted Simberg’s.

Andrew Lawton

Samizdata quote of the day – either way, China wins

The reason Beijing seems so relaxed about the crisis is obvious: this is a situation in which China wins either way. Either the threat continues but shipping is safer for Chinese vessels than for others, in which case sailing under the protection of the red and gold flag may become a coveted competitive advantage, or Beijing finally tells Iran to knock it off, in which case China becomes the de facto go-to security provider in the Middle East. Both outcomes would be geopolitical coups. No wonder China is willing to accept a little short-term economic pain as the situation plays out.

Nathan Levine

Samizdata quote of the day – bring back the Law Lords

In any case, if those who stubbornly insist the Supreme Court is exactly like the old Appellate Committee are correct, then there can be no objection to moving it back to the House of Lords since it would make no difference whatsoever. It would be simple enough. The Supreme Court gift shop will be the first to go, with its Supreme Court-branded teddy bears and its unsold copies of the laudatory coffee table book about the building’s architecture. Baroness Hale’s leek-themed carpet, a 1970s style fever dream, will be next, revealing the sturdy floors underneath.

Then their lordships can return to the anonymous backrooms of the House of Lords, safe from the temptations of being supreme over Parliament. Middlesex Guildhall, that much-abused building, can be restored to its former glory, if it ever had any, and assist in dealing with London’s rising crime levels. Then the ghosts of the Blairite constitution may finally be exorcised.

Yuan Yi Zhu

Samizdata quote of the day – Where’s the anger?

There have been numerous foiled attacks on politicians, too. Just weeks after the Westminster Bridge horror, Khalid Ali, a Taliban bombmaker, was tackled by armed police near Downing Street. He was armed with knives. He also said he was there to send ‘a message’ to those in power. A few months later, ISIS supporter Naa’imur Zakariyah Rahman was arrested for plotting to bomb his way into Downing Street and behead Theresa May.

The response to this sustained, years-long assault on our elected representatives? Not silence, exactly. There has been plenty of chatter and commentary. It’s just been about completely unrelated issues. There has been a desperate attempt to change the subject, and to downplay the threat posed by Islamist extremism.

Tom Slater

Samizdata quote of the day – the EU’s selective affinity to the rule of law

Donald Tusk sends riot police to purge media of critical journalists – and suddenly the EU has nothing to say about the ‘Rule of Law’

Will Jones

Samizdata quote of the day – the Digital Pound

The advantages [of the Digital Pound] over cash are, then, as clear as day. The pesky thing about cash is that it isn’t regulated. If you want to buy something in cash, you just hand it over to the person who is selling the thing, and that is that. This covers the transaction in a layer of kryptonite as far as government is concerned: it can’t control who ends up owning the money, and it can’t control whether the transaction takes place. The digital pound, and the way it is being set up, offers no clear advantage to the ‘user’, but, again, that isn’t the point. The advantages are obvious to those doing the governing, and that is ultimately what motivates the entire project for reasons which by now will be well understood.

David McGrogan.

Highly recommended that you read the whole thing.

Samizdata quote of the day – the Scorpion State

While the desire on the part of modern conservatives to divorce themselves from ‘neoliberalism’ is understandable enough, the simple truth is that there is a very good and obvious reason why parties on the economic left tend towards being left on culture, too.

And it is simply this: a State which minutely governs the economy is one which minutely governs society as a whole, because economy and society are not in fact separate phenomena, but an integrated whole. This means that if the State is big vis-a-vis the economy, it is going to be big in all areas – and it is going to want to squash or co-opt competing sources of loyalty and authority (like the family, religious and community groups, businesses, etc.) which the right holds dear accordingly.

The truth of the matter, then, is that conservatives and libertarians both fundamentally need the same thing (a small state) and that the ‘left on the economy and right on culture’ meme is just that: a slogan without a genuine cause.

David McGrogan

Why the Ukraine War is not actually a stalemate

A useful perspective for people who just read headlines.